Visitors can easily damage Hanging Lake |

Visitors can easily damage Hanging Lake

GLENWOOD CANYON ” More than 600 hikers wind their way up to Hanging Lake on a busy summer day, said Sally Spaulding, spokeswoman for the White River National Forest. As they climb, they trample plants, feed the wildlife, swim in the lake and leave trash all over the place.

“That volume has a huge impact on the area, and violations to the rules further accelerate that damage as well as the overall visitor experience,” said Rich Doak, recreation program manager for the White River National Forest. “When visitors choose to break the law, they can cause significant damage to this fragile lake ecosystem.”

The Forest Service reminds hikers to stay on trails, clean up after themselves, avoid animals and keep themselves and pets out of the lake because body oils disintegrate the calcium wall that holds the lake in place.

“The animals are really habituated to people and even beg for food,” said Beth Boyst, the forest’s wilderness specialist. “It’s dangerous. Those animals could transmit disease, and feeding them actually hurts the animals in the long run.”

Forest Service staffers are planning to replace the boardwalk and benches and build an informational kiosk to help visitors. Anyone interested in sponsoring projects or volunteering time can contact Boyst at 328-6388.

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